Seminar: Advanced Topics in Economics and Computation

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Sven Seuken
Teaching Assistants: Mike Shann, Timo Vollmer
Teaching Language English
Level BSc, MSc
Academic Semester Fall 2012
Time Wednesdays, 12:15 - 13:45
Location BIN-2.A.01
AP (ECTS): 3 (including a mark)
Office Hours Send email for appointments.

Course Content

This seminar focuses on advanced topics in economics and computation. This year, we will study (electronic) market design, with a particular focus on the theory and practice of combinatorial auctions. Throughout, we pay attention to the economic as well as computational aspects of the market designs we consider. We will look at a number of real-world applications, including spectrum auctions, the allocation of bus routes in London, and procurement auctions. Finally, we look at a number of papers regarding the design of energy markets.


There is no required textbook for this seminar. However, many of the readings will be individual chapters from the following book: "Combinatorial Auctions", Peter Cramton, Yoav Shoham, and Richard Steinberg (eds.), MIT Press, 2006.

Response Essays

Please submit your response essays here before 11:59pm of each Monday.

Prior Knowledge

Students need to have a good understanding of the topics taught in the course “Economics and Computation”, in particular i) game theory, ii) mechanism design, and iii) combinatorial auctions. Students who are in doubt regarding their prior knowledge should contact the instructor.


Successful completion of the course "Economics and Computation" or explicit consent from the instructor. Students who have not taken "Economics and Computation" but want to take the course should contact the instructor ahead of time.

Learning Goals

1. Develop a deep understanding of advanced topics in economics and computation.
2. Be able to read research papers on economics and computation.
3. Be able to critically evaluate and discuss research papers and identify open research problems.
4. Be able to give an oral presentation on a research paper and lead a discussion.

Target Audience

Recommended for all BSc and MSc students who have successfully completed the course "Economics and Computation", or who have obtained similar background knowledge elsewhere.


1) Class participation (seminar discussions)
2) Response papers (1 page per week)
3) Paper presentation (students will present 2-3 papers, likely in pairs)
The exact grading breakdown will be announced at the beginning of the semester. Roughly, it will be:
Class participation: 50%
Response papers: 25%
Paper presentations: 25%

Additional Information

1) Students who are interested in taking this course but have not previously taken the course “Economics and Computation” should contact the instructor.
2) Students must read the assigned research papers before each class.
3) Students must write a short response paper (1 page per reading assignment) before each class.
4) Students are expected to actively participate during the seminar discussions.
5) Students must give a presentation on 2-3 of the research papers, likely in pairs.